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Oct 14, 2009 - 0 comments




An historical moment! Wednesday 14th October 2009, 1550 NZDST - I have achieved SVR!  Woot, what a feeling!!  It is like time has turned back 20 years to the day when they told me I had this virus and that there was no treatment for me.  At that time they thought Geno 3 was harmless and there was no point in treating.  Also, as my LFTs were elevated but still within normal range (just) the current treatment would not work for me.  From that point on having the virus plagued me and infiltrated every aspect of my life.  In hindsight I gave it all the power, I believed what 'they' said and believed there was no cure.  In a way I stopped 'living' and started viewing myself as a sick person.

Then 5 or so years ago, my LFTs did rise above normal and I pushed for SOC treatment. Imagine my horror when I did not respond to 24 weeks of SOC at all.  Thoughts about Hep C and it's treatment had changed and supposedly I  had one of the easiest genotypes to treat and I had an 80% chance of treating successfully.  Well, it didn't happen like that and I was given a new label, non responder, and put in the 'hard to treat' category and once again told there was no treatment for me as the 'gold standard' of treatment worldwide had failed for me.

Despite the disappointment and depression I held on to my dream that I would one day vanquish the alien invader... and kept turning up at the hospital every 6 months asking if there were any new drug trials for the hard to treat folks like me.

One day my doc said, there is a trial for a new polymerase inhibitor drug called R7128 (it was a Phase 1 trial which most people run from!) and that I was a perfect candidate for it.  He also said that he guaranteed it would make the virus undetectable in my blood.  Bold words I thought and immediately screened for the trial.

Incredibly, out of 60 people screeened worldwide, I was 1 of 4 people that were able to start the trial on May 18 2008.  It was the first trial of it's kind for Geno 3 previous non-responders.  Finally, the FDA had acknowleged there was a group of people out there that had no treatment options.  Most trials and studies are focussed on Genotype 1 as it has the greatest population and is the hardest to treat.  But it was now becoming obvious that Geno 3 was in second place in the hard to treats.  The FDA had fast-tracked the testing of R7128 to try and fill a growing need.

It was a double blinded, randomised trial and I had a 1in 5 chance of getting the placebo instead of the study drug.The 80/20 percentage again!  I took the study drug or placebo for 2 weeks along with SOC and  I was UND by week 4.  Woohoo!!  I then continued on with SOC for a total 48 weeks.

There were a few bumps in the road along the way, to say the least, but I made it through and every VL test I had post tx kept showing UND until here we are at SVR!  Fantastic.

So today I feel like my life has been returned to me.  I don't regret a moment of the treatment or how hard it was because SVR is such a sweet sweet feeling. Hallelujah!!

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